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Range features that cut cooking time and add convenience

Consumer Reports News: May 15, 2012 02:38 PM

Getting dinner on the table night after night can be one fine juggling act. Fortunately, many of the ranges on the market today have new features that trim cooking time and offer flexibility. If you haven't replaced your range in a decade or so, you'll be happy to see models with one or two high-powered elements, warming drawers and elements, and convection oven modes that speed baking.

For the fastest cooktop heating of all, induction takes the cake. Induction was typically 25 percent faster than electric smoothtops in Consumer Reports' range tests. And induction has come down in price. The cooktops we tested were excellent overall. The top-rated $1,700 Kenmore 43820 scored an impressive 99 with super fast heating and superb simmering. Most induction ranges were also excellent, outperforming other electric and gas models. Induction ranges from GE Profile, Kenmore, and Samsung are on our list of recommended models and cost $1,800 to $2,500.

If you prefer an electric smoothtop or gas range, look for at least one high-powered burner or element. It quickly brings water to a boil—handy when making pasta—and capably heats large pots of food. Expandable elements on electric smoothtop ranges let you switch from a large high-power element to the smaller, low-powered one within, giving you cooking options that match your menu.

In the oven, convection uses fans to circulate hot air and cut cooking time, and consider a range with at least five oven-rack positions for added flexibility. A warming drawer comes in handy when cooking for a crowd, and a dual-oven range allows you to roast a turkey in one oven while baking a pie in the other. You'll find such features noted on the model pages of the more than 120 ranges in our latest tests.

Kimberly Janeway


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